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Buying fish on a Monday at a supermarket

t
tkc Aug 7, 2006 10:10 PM

I know you're not supposed to eat fish at a restaurant on a Monday, because the odds are, it's been sitting there since the restaurant got its delivery on Friday. But does anyone know if the same applies to fish at a supermarket, e.g. Whole Foods?

  1. tbear Aug 8, 2006 12:10 AM

    Restaurants and fish markets have both fish left over from the weekend and fish delivered on Monday. The real question is when it came out of the water or when it came into the distributors
    at Hunts Point (formerly Fulton Fish Market). Unfortunately there is no way tell, especially at a restaurant. The best way is to use your eyes: the meat should be shiny not dull, the gills should be pink not grey and the fish' eyes should be
    clear not cloudy. At restaurant, where I know the server, I will ask them point blank when the fish came in and if it looks good. Generally you can get a truthful answer.

    Lastly, some fish hold better than others. Most flat fish, (sole, turbot etc.) go bad quick. These fish are often "day-boat", meaning they are caught and brought to market on the same day. Larger fish, such as tuna and sword, if they are not cleaned, last longer. They are usually caught by long-line boats and can be on the boat for a week or more before they hit the market. Many long-line boats now flash-freeze on the boat which is actually not always a bad thing, especially since the local fisheries have been so depleted and we are relying more and more on distant catches. Contrary to popular belief, shellfish like oysters and mussels hold pretty well as they are alive when they are stored. Also they are tagged with their harvest date, making it easy for a restaurant/fish monger to monitor their age.

    To much information, I know, but it is complicated and, frankly, this discussion could go on and on...

    1. s
      Simon Aug 8, 2006 12:19 AM

      i shop at the Union Square Whole Foods at least once a week for staples like soy milk and fruit and nuts and vegetables, but i never buy their fish anymore, on any day of the week...i did so a couple times and wasn't very happy with the quality nor with the scaling...if i want really good fish, i walk to Citarella...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Simon
        steinpilz Aug 8, 2006 03:32 AM

        I agree, the Whole Foods seafood section is going downhill (it's true here in Boston as well). The high profile decision by Whole Foods to stop selling lobster was really a cost save. I've had WF fish-sellers tell me crab is out of season and too expensive when I could drive a block away and get soft shells from a local independent fish place. Very disappointing as Bread and Circus was so good.

        1. re: Simon
          k
          KayMae Aug 8, 2006 10:55 PM

          I agree with all the posters about the fish at Whole Foods
          in Union Square. Way too exposed, and doesn't taste fresh.
          Some of it doesn't even look fresh. Aside from Citarella, are
          there any other good places even semi-nearby that sell excellent fresh fish? I am skeptical about buying it outdoors
          at the Greenmarket where there's a big vendor on Saturday.
          Thanks....

        2. mabziegurl Aug 8, 2006 07:04 AM

          i almost never grocery shop on monday. i usually shop on wednesday or thursday when the ads come out however, i just got back from out of town and needed to grocery shop. i hit the trader joe's which i was dreading, i shopped there once on sunday and it was horrible, everything was out, but there was a lot of selection of everything... i went to two other grocery stores and it seemed like both stores were unloading tons of produce, the seafood department looked more abundant than ever, meat department looekd extra fresh, and there were no stickers on the fish for not so fresh specials... so i'm thinking most places get stocked on monday and probably thursdays since thats when most ads come out which makes sense since sunday groceries are always picked over and never seem so fresh...

          i would advise to ask the seafood department at your local supermarket when they get shipments in... also when you purchase things like fish, always open up the gills to make sure it is pink... even a fresh shipment has not so fresh fish...

          1. byrd Aug 8, 2006 01:24 PM

            as far as selling fresh fish whole foods is not reccomended, and that is being excessively kind.

            2 Replies
            1. re: byrd
              l
              laguera Aug 8, 2006 02:17 PM

              Agree, and with the above posters. I have bought fish at WF in Baltimore and in NY, and all experiences have been bad, bad, bad. Once I bought striped bass that bordered on inedible. I think it is shocking that the fish is so expensive and of such poor quality. Their selection is incredibly mundane, too. Nothing but salmon, halibut, snapper and bass. Blech.

              1. re: laguera
                c
                cheryl_h Aug 8, 2006 02:29 PM

                Agree that the value and freshness of WF fish are questionable. OTOH we've bought fresh fish many times from Costco and been impressed with the freshness. I was a bit wary the first time, but now if I see something I like I don't hesitate to buy it. Prices are the best in the area too.

            2. n
              Nicole Aug 8, 2006 04:13 PM

              Everyone is so down on Whole Foods' fish, but I have to say that all the fish I've bought at Whole Foods has been of excellent quality. I live in Los Angeles, and I noticed that the detractors seem to be East coasters...maybe there are some regional differences in the freshness of Whole Foods fish.

              1. c
                christy319 Aug 8, 2006 04:24 PM

                This is not about fish but I do have to respond to the posters who are guessing about what days groceries are stocked in general. It always varies-you can ask if you want to know. I've worked in groceries that got their biggest deliveries in from their grocery wholesalers 2-4 times per week, but they get many smaller deliveries, from specialty wholesalers or producers, in daily. Produce always came every day. Meat and seafood were delivered every day but sunday, but different vendors came on different days, so always ask the counter staff when a particular fish came in if you want to know.

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